Powys County Archives Office
Breconshire Quarter Sessions - Enclosure of the Great Forest of Brecknock
Reference code(s): GB 0223 B/QS/GF
Title: Breconshire Quarter Sessions - Enclosure of the Great Forest of Brecknock
Short title: Enclosure of the Great Forest of Brecknock
Dates of creation: 1749-1829
Level of description: Sub-fonds
Extent and medium: 0.3 cubic metres (6 large boxes, 6 rolls)
Name of creator(s): The Commissioners for the Enclosure of the Great Forest of Brecknock; the Clerk of the Peace for Brecknock.
Administrative and biographical history: The Great Forest of Brecknock was a large tract of upland, interspersed with wooded valleys, which was set aside for game hunting by Bernard of Newmarch, when he assumed the Lordship of Brecon in around 1093. By the 15th century, the Lordship of Brecon had passed, through marriages and inheritance, to Henry, Duke of Buckingham. On the latter's attainder in 1483, Richard III confiscated his estates, including the Lordship of Brecon. Richard granted a charter to the commoners of the Great Forest on 19 Feb 1484. The attainder was reversed by Henry VII, and Edward Duke of Buckingham (son of Henry) regained the Lordship. He was subsequently executed by Henry VIII, and the estates reverted to the Crown again in 1521. An Inspeximus of the charter of Richard III was issued by Henry VIII, in 1538, granting the inhabitants of the Lordship of Brecon a right of common in the Great Forest. The Lordship and the Great Forest were leased out (usually separately) by the Crown. By the 17th century both were held by branches of the Morgan Family of Tredegar. The Great Forest was often farmed [sub let]. In 1808, the Crown, to raise money for the war with France, introduced an Act to sell off the Forest. The commoners asserted their rights of common, which lead to the prosecution of two of their number for trespass. This case was withdrawn, in 1814, because the commoners' plea of long usage was felt to be strong enough for the court to find in their favour. In 1815, an Act was introduced to enclose the Great Forest, alloting a moiety each to the Crown and the commoners. The Commissioners appointed to oversee the enclosure were Henry de Bruyn and John Cheese. The process of dividing the Forest was a long one, as it entailed the consideration of many claims and counter claims; some of the land had to be sold to deffray expenses. In 1818, an amendment Act was introduced, giving the Commoners' allotment to them in severality, rather than alloting them individual portions. The award was finally made in 1819. The Crown allotment was sold soon after.
Scope and content: The collection comprises three series of records: 1.Documents relating to the payment of rents and Comortha in the Lordship of Brecon: correspondence and lists of properties and occupiers with rents due; 1749-1806. 2. Documents relating to forestal rights: agreements for agistment and farming of dues; correspondence and briefs relating to cases of impounding of 'foreign' cattle; correspondence and briefs relating to the case against Watkin Lloyd and David Jones for trespass; 1770-1814. 3. Documents relating to the enclosure of the Great Forest of Brecknock: copies of the Acts; notices of meetings and minutes of meetings and evidence; correspondence relating to the Acts, the process of enclosure, claims for allotments and sales of land; financial records, statements of account by the Commissioners, audited accounts of the Commissioners (with vouchers), charges of the Clerks to the Commissioners and solicitors for the commoners, charges for perambulations of the boundaries, cheque stubs, a cash book, and a bank book; legal notices, pleas, affadavits, and agreements; descriptions of the boundaries of the Forest, surveys of farms, lists of: parishes, rate assessments, lessees of the Forest, encroachments, agricultural use of certain land, sheepwalks; various types of notices to claimants (to attend with evidence, that claims will be disallowed unless they attend, that their claims have been objected to), bundles of claims, volumes of claims, lists of objections to claims, notices that claims have been disallowed, evidence of claims; notices and draft advertisements for sales of land, newspapers with advertisements in, sales particulars including descriptions of lots, conditions of sale and contracts, accounts of bidding at sales; claim of the Crown to tithes on the Forest, evidence relating to tithes, proofs of claims as to tithes, land alloted for sale to reimburse owners of land sold tithe free; plans of farms, holdings and properties, plans of claims, plans of roads; notices for forming and stopping up of roads; documents relating to the Award, including petition by commoners for allotment in severality, draft award of the Crown allotment, draft general award, schedule of allowed claims, index to claims for allotment; miscellaneous notes and a list of commoners allowed to shoot on their allotments. Many of the documents are copies.
ACCESS AND USE
Language/script: English, with words in Latin and Welsh.
System of arrangement: The collection is divided into three Series. Each series is divided into Sub- series. Within each Sub-series, Files (bundles) are arranged chronologically, with non-dated files placed at the end of each sub-series. Items are arranged chronologically within files.
Conditions governing access: Certain documents have been appraised as too fragile for production, otherwise no restrictions on access.
Conditions governing reproduction: There are no copyright restrictions. Some items cannot be photocopied, but digital photographs may be taken.
Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at Powys County Archive Office.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained, except for duplicates of notices of meetings and sale.
Accruals: Accruals are not expected.
Archival history: The records were deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for Brecknock. They were transferred to the National Library of Wales in the early 20th century.
Immediate source of acquisition: Transferred by The National Library of Wales in 1990.
Existence and location of originals: The House of Lords Record Office.
Related units of description: Further papers and the map and award are in Powys County Archive Office in the main Breconshire Quarter Sessions collection. Further papers are in: The National Library of Wales, The National Archives and the Centre for Kentish Studies.
Publication note: Lloyd, John. The Great Forest of Brecknock. London: Bedford Press, 1905; Matheson, Paul. The dog that did nothing in the night-time: the enclosure of the Great Forest of Brecknock. Worcester, University College: [Author], 2000; Rees, William. The Great Forest of Brecknock: a facet of Breconshire history. Brecon: Brecknock Museum, 1966.
Archivist's note: Compiled by Anna Page, Trainee Archivist at Powys County Archive Office. The following sources were used to compile the description: Lloyd, John. The Great Forest of Brecknock. London: Bedford Press, 1905; Matheson, Paul. The dog that did nothing in the night-time: the enclosure of the Great Forest of Brecknock. Worcester, University College: [Author], 2000; Rees, William. The Great Forest of Brecknock: a facet of Breconshire history. Brecon: Brecknock Museum, 1966.
Rules or conventions: This description follows guidelines provided by UWA Department of Information Studies based on ISAD(G) 2nd edition, 2000. Also, ICA. ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd ed. Adopted by the Committee on Descriptive Standards, Stockholm, Sweden, 19-22 September 1999. Ottawa, 2000.
Date(s) of description: March 2006.